Home>Climate>Today’s Assembly hearing on offshore wind farms and the deaths of whales and dolphins

An offshore wind farm. (Photo: Environment America).

Today’s Assembly hearing on offshore wind farms and the deaths of whales and dolphins

By David Wildstein, May 18 2023 4:19 pm

The Assembly Science, Innovation, and Technology Committee, chaired by Christopher Tully (D-Bergenfield), today held a hearing on offshore find farms and marine mammal deaths that have occurred along the Atlantic Coast with testimony from the scientific community.

Click HERE to listen to the hearing.

Statements on today’s hearing:

William C. Sproule, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters

“The New Jersey Assembly should be applauded for holding this hearing and listening to the real experts of the offshore wind industry.  This new industry will not only help to diversify our energy needs, but also create good-paying union jobs for New Jersey workers. The Carpenters union has made investments to ensure offshore wind projects are built by Americans through our expansion of the Thomas C. Ober Carpenters Training Center in Hammonton, to include the offshore wind construction education, and opening the first union dive school in the country in Sicklerville. New Jersey will be leaders in the offshore wind economy and union workers can’t succeed without elected officials speaking up like they did today.”

Ed Potosnak, Executive Director, New Jersey League of Conservation Voters

“We are pleased to see the Assembly hold a fact-based hearing. As an environmental organization, we are always concerned when we see marine life in distress, but time and again scientists have stated that the unusual mortality event of marine mammals – which began well before offshore wind energy development – is unrelated.  Elected leaders who really care about protecting marine life should address real evidence-based threats to marine life, including implementing vessel speed restrictions, eliminating abandoned commercial fishing gear, removing plastic garbage out of the water, and of course addressing climate change.”

Jennifer Coffey, Executive Director, ANJEC

“Converting our energy sources to clean, renewable sources like wind energy is essential to combating the climate crisis. Those trying to label wind energy as harmful to any species are misrepresenting the facts.  Whale deaths have been increasing for nearly a decade before any wind research began. Nearly all the whale mortalities show they have been struck by ships. To save the whales, we need to end climate change, reduce plastic pollution, and slow down large shipping vessels coming into port.”

Richard Lawton, Executive Director, NJ Sustainable Business Council

“Offshore wind is a critical component in the transition to a more sustainable clean energy economy.  New Jersey is perfectly positioned to reap the tremendous economic, environmental and national security benefits from offshore wind development.  We can’t let myopic partisan politics stand in the way of capitalizing on the opportunity for the creation of new businesses and thousands of good paying local jobs, cleaner air for all, and enhanced national security by developing this locally produced and consumed source of renewable energy.”

Rev. Ronald Tuff, GreenFaith Alliance NJ

“As a believer in the sanctity of all life, I am deeply saddened by the deaths of whales and dolphins off our coast. However, we must face the fact that climate change and global warming are attributing to the drastic weather changes, ecosystem collapses, and food insecurity for both humans and wildlife alike.  We must create a new future with renewable energy sources like offshore wind and not get dismayed by those who wish to distract us from the true crises. We are all threatened if we do not act to save our planet.”

Heidi Yeh, Public Policy Director, Pinelands Preservation Alliance

“Previous hearings have featured numerous mentions of the need to ‘follow the science’, while simultaneously displaying a lack of understanding of how science actually works. We need to ground public policy with real expertise—not spurious claims.

Anjuli Ramos-Busot, Director, Sierra Club NJ

“Several scientific authoritative bodies including NOAA, the NJDEP, and Marine Mammal Stranding Center, have all repeatedly stated and cited no connection between offshore wind development and marine mammal deaths.  We must trust science while ensuring that offshore wind is developed in an environmentally responsible way. Offshore wind is one of the best tools to combat climate change, which is the true culprit for a changing ocean.”

Tom Gilbert, co-executive director of NJ Conservation Foundation

“The facts and science must guide our response to the very concerning deaths of whales and other marine mammals.  There is zero evidence linking offshore wind to these deaths. Climate change is wreaking havoc on our oceans and marine life, and responsible offshore wind development is an essential part of the comprehensive strategy needed to address the climate crisis.”

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